The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
–1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
What does it mean to be satisfied with life? For Abraham, it meant to be at peace with his past and looking forward to his future. Look at Genesis 25:8: “Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.” Now, Abraham was not physically buried with his people other than his wife Sarah. This is not a reference to Abraham’s resting place on earth but his future home in heaven. The Bible says, “To be absent from the body [is] to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Abraham was confident that one day, he would be with the Lord he served so faithfully and with other people who served the Lord as well. Abraham’s people included Enoch, Noah, and Methuselah. He believed he would be caught up together and spend eternity with them. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
Do you realize that one day you are going to die and be gathered together with your people? I am not talking about your family; I am talking about the people who exhibited your kind of faith. Is it going to be people like Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Paul, and Mary–the great people of faith? Or are you going to be gathered together with people who ignored God, who despised His Word, who rejected His commands?
Abraham was able to face death courageously because he knew he was going to heaven. You see, Abraham lived in the world, but he was not of the world. His heart was like a compass that was always pointing to heaven. And that is why he held loosely everything that was important to him–his security, his wealth, his relationships. He was willing to surrender it all to God because he knew that whatever he gave up temporarily in this world, God would replace it in a way that he could never imagine. Abraham was willing to sacrifice the temporal to gain the eternal.
Some of us are holding on to those things that are important to us–material possessions, dreams, relationships. But God says, “If you will simply let go and give it to Me, I will give you far more than you could ever imagine in return.” That is a future to look forward to.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Finishing Strong” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org